This past Monday evening the students of the Honors Program read and discussed further authors from the Reformation period (1500-1800). One of the authors was named George Herbert who was a priest in a small church and he remained in that position even though he could have gone far in the Church of England. In Callings he had two different writings that both complimented and conflicted with each other. One writing was named The Temple, or The Country Parson and spoke of the pastor's life. The second writing was called The Collar and it is a poem concerning his calling as a pastor.
The first writing The Temple, or The Country Parson speaks plainly and rationally about the calling to be a pastor. It states how it is important for the pastor to put his whole life into the calling so that he can be a good example for his congregation. Herbert also speaks of the parsonage where the pastor lives and how it should be in the country so that the pastor is not as easily distracted by the things of this world, much like the monks and nuns lived in the country to set themselves apart from society. Herbert's second writing is much different in that it is not a formal declaration of what it is to be a pastor but rather a poem that holds metaphor and multiple meanings. The Collar is much shorter than the previous writing but due to its ability to hold multiple meanings it can have just as much to say about being a pastor as The Temple, or The Country Parson.
I enjoyed both of these readings together especially since at first they are completely and utterly different. On the surface, one is straightforward and tells exactly how a pastor should live and be an example for his congregation and that being a pastor is one of the noblest callings that one can have. However, the other is full of metaphor and multiple meanings and seems to indicate a disliking for the calling of being a pastor. When I looked closer at these I noticed that these are more similar than I first thought. Both of these writings indicate a love for God and for helping other people in their spiritual lives while also realizing that one's own spiritual life needs continuous work as well. George Herbert seems to believe that the calling to be a pastor is an important one and that the pastor will have hardships even if the calling is from God.